Anyone who’s ever dealt with children will laugh out loud with Sophie’s cat herding efforts as she tries to whip a Christmas program into shape. Anyone who’s known heartache will want to hug Mitch up (he’s the perfect dad – you’ve got to adore that about him!) and take him home for the holidays . . . or maybe longer. And Angie is pure angelic gold with all the endearing and frustrating trimmings that go with being a child. This is the perfect holiday read about family, togetherness and love. I’ll let Mitch and Sohpie show you themselves as they take my In the Name of Love quiz:
© What song title best describes your relationship track record: “Nothing but a Good Time,” “Turn Me Loose,” “Shot Through the Heart (You Give Love a Bad Name)”, “Money Talks/Material Girl”, “Looking for Love in All The Wrong Places”?
Both (in unison): "Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places."
Mitch: Angie's mother was a stunning woman, but she represented the things I want to keep my daughter away from – preoccupation with looks, wealth and success. And at first I was afraid Sophie would be the wrong choice because she wanted to move to the big city and become a screenwriter.
Sophie: Nate, my high school boyfriend, promised we'd pursue our careers together but he left without me. Mitch seems to be the perfect father, but then I started to wonder if he would treat me as a daughter rather than a partner.
© What do you find the most appealing about a committed relationship?
Mitch: I want someone to be a partner, someone who will not only help me raise my daughter, but be there for me to share my ups and downs at the end of the day. And it would be icing on the cake if that person could cook, too.
Sophie: I need someone who will support my dreams and desires, and will allow me to help him achieve his, too.
© Why are you still single?
Sophie: I dated a guy all through high school, and we made plans to go to Hollywood together. He's an actor, and I'm a writer. But he left without me, and I've never been able to get close to any man since then.
© What’s an absolute deal breaker in a relationship?
Mitch: If anyone is going to get close to me, she's got to love my daughter Angie. I moved from Chicago to Zutphen, MI to get her away from the materialistic, career-driven influence of my in-laws.
© What first attracted you to each other?
Sophie: I was attracted to the way he interacted with his daughter. He's so protective and caring.
Mitch: I was attracted to the way she interacted with my daughter. She looks out for her, and she really listens to Angie.
© What kept you from acting on that attraction?
Mitch: She's young – and she had plans to leave this wonderful small town and move away to California – to everything I want to get away from.
© What are you most looking forward to as a couple?
Sophie: I'm looking forward to having a partnership, like my sister has with her husband Dave.
Mitch: I'm looking forward to making this house a home. And maybe filling it with more kids.
Buy links: Christmas Wishes can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other ebook outlets.
Photographer Mitch Carson is tired of big city life. He just wants to settle down in a quiet town with his daughter, Angie. Even that doesn't quell his fear of losing his daughter to his scheming mother-in-law.
Sophie Gardner wants to be a screenwriter. She's ready to leave small town Zutphen, Michigan and go to Hollywood. With a theater degree under her belt, she's busy writing scripts while helping out her sister Joanie, who's bedridden with a difficult pregnancy. Unfortunately, Joanie has somehow coerced Sophie into directing the Christmas pageant at Zutphen Community Church.
When Sophie and Mitch meet, the attraction is instant and mutual. But each wants what the other is trying to get away from. Can they deny their feelings and pursue their dreams? Or will the holiday prove to them that their true wishes might not be what they'd thought?
Mitch looked up into a pair of wide green eyes. Exotic and enticing, yet capable and compassionate. The eyes were set in a small heart-shaped face and surrounded by a cloud of honey blonde hair. He closed his mouth before he embarrassed himself by drooling. And he tried very hard to keep his voice from squeaking as he answered.
“Thanks, but I can take her home.”
“Daddy, I need to go!” Angie continued her hopping, clearly uncomfortable.
“It’s a nice bathroom, and they keep it very clean,” the blonde told him. She disappeared into the doorway she’d indicated and then came right back. “No one’s using it now, so you can go in and help her if you want.”
“Daddy? Please?” Angie’s face was starting to turn red. “I can do it myself.”
Mitch swallowed. If the restroom was empty and he stood outside the door, nothing bad could happen to her, right? “Okay, sweetness. I’ll be right here.”
Angie dashed into the restroom, and the blonde started to take off.
“Uh, thanks for your help,” he called after her.
The blonde curls tossed as she turned back to him with a grin. “No problem at all. I’m Sophie Gardner, by the way. Are you just passing through Zutphen, or are you new here?”
“New, I guess. We moved here in August. Mitch Carson.” He held out his hand.
She placed a tiny hand in his. “You’ve been here over two months and I haven’t met you until now? The small-town grapevine must be rusty. Welcome to Zutphen. You have an adorable daughter.”
“Thanks. I can’t argue with that.” He’d been welcomed by other residents, but for some reason, the words from this particular woman made him feel almost giddy with pleasure. He turned when the bathroom door opened, and Angie came out, much happier than when she’d gone in. Her gap-tooth grin made his heart swell with pride.
Strange, but his usual apprehension when his daughter was out of his sight hadn’t seemed so intense with this lady by his side. It would be so nice to share the parenting responsibilities with someone. No, he reminded himself, I’ve got to do this myself. At least, I’ve got to try.
In a previous life, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary school students by day and changed diapers at night. Now she teaches college students part time and changes diapers only when she's taking care of grandkids. She loves to do anything that doesn't involve exercise. Right now her favorite activities, other than writing, include scrapbooking, sewing, and making music. She and her husband live in southwest Michigan, near their five children and nine grandchildren. Author links: Patricia Kiyono can be found at her website, blog, facebook, Amazon, and twitter @PatriciaKiyono